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Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

INTRODUCTORY  ESSAY.         '                          45

[V. Summary of the labours of Indian Botanists, and of the
materials at our disposal for prosecuting the Flora Indica.
A. Publications of importance to Indian Botanists.
The masterly sketch of the progress of hotanical science
in continehtal India, which is contained in the introduction
to. Wight and Arnott's Prodromus, a work which is in the
hands of every botanist, renders it unnecessary for us to enter
into such full details as would otherwise be requisite, regard-
ing the older Indian botanists and their collections. A brief
notice of some 'works, to which we shall frequently have oc-
casion to refer in the course of our labours, is however de-
sirable.
The earliest scientific work on the Flora of India is the
' Hortus Malabaricus' of Van Rheede (Governor of Malabar),
which was published in Holland about the end of the seven-
teenth century, in twelve volumes, with figures of nearly
seven hundred plants. It is a very remarkable book, from
the general excellence of the plates, which are faithful repre-
sentations of the plants. Malabar was for many years so little
explored, that till very recently a great many of the plants
figured were not familiarly known: within the last twenty
years, however, its flora has been investigated by sp many
botanists, as to be considered nearly exhausted; and as the
novelties will consist chiefly of obscure plants, we may con-
clude that when the collections now in Europe (particularly
Wight's), are described, Rheede's plants will be all identi-
fiable.
Rumphius'' Herbarium Amboinense' ia of much less vflue
as a work of reference than that of Rheede, because the
plates axe in general much inferior. They are often greatly
reduced in size, and frequently bear too little resemblance
to the plants which they are meant to represent, to render it
useful to quote them. The flora of Amboyna is not so well
known as that of Malabar^ but Blume has done much to-